At the end of October, the "European Left Party" will hold its first congress in Athens. This compels us to clarify our position.
1. It has been said over and over again: the collapse of socialism in the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe has only intensified all contradictions of the global capitalist system.
After the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, imperialism has launched wars to recolonize the Third World. NATO has expanded its sphere of action to the whole world and has increased its combat forces. More than ever, the United States is relying on its military superiority to consolidate and extend its dominance on a global scale. The European Union wants to become the world’s jost competitive economic power. Under capitalism, this requires that the EU also puts in place a corresponding military force. The relative over-production, a characteristic of the capitalist system, is aggravating and fuelling the structural economic crisis.
The social achievements of Europe’s workers are being dismantled rapidly and class struggle has been reinvigorating everywhere throughout the last few years.
The reactionary forces respond with the imposition of antidemocratic laws and measures to curb trade union rights, in the US as well as the European Union and Japan.
The objective situation puts the preparation of the socialist revolution on the agenda as it is the only option to liberate the workers and the peoples of the world from capitalist and imperialist exploitation and oppression.
Inevitably, this situation is stirring up debate in the ranks of the International Communist Movement. The jost important tendency pushes for the revolutionalization of Communist Parties and forces. Conscious about the breadth of the tasks at hand as well as the new opportunities, these Communist Parties are drawing lessons from the errors of the past and above all from the various revisionist and opportunist currents, right and ‘left’, that have made them deviate from the Marxist-Leninist comprehension of their revolutionary tasks.
We also take note, however, of the fact that the vigorous anti-communist campaigns, that have accompanied the counter-revolution, have affected several Communist Parties. They are not orienting themselves towards their revolutionarisation but towards their social-democratisation. Like Kautsky at the eve of WWI, they bow for the reality of capitalism and reject Lenin and the revolution.
2. A program that fails to go beyond left reformism
The European Left Party was established on May 8, 2004. It comprises communist, socialist, trotskist and green parties. Behind the hazy verbiage about the transformation of capitalism and a society “that goes beyond the capitalist and patriarchal logic” lies a reformist project that runs counter to the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
As Marxists, we have the science of socialism at our disposal to understand and change the world. For us, the economy is the foundation of any society. The exploitation and the oppression of the workers originate from the private ownership of the means of production. The ensuing anarchy is at the basis of economic crises that are inherent to the system. The monopolies are the consequence of the fierce competition between capitalists. They have the power in the capitalist State. Imperialism, that is the con-quest for raw materials, markets and a cheap labour force between the giant monopolies. Ultimately, it is through war that the imperialist powers divide and redivide the world.
Socialist revolution or “transformation of capitalism;” collective ownership of the productive forces or “going beyond capitalist logic”; that has always been and still is the dividing line between communists and social democrats.
What is the attitude towards the class character of capitalist state? That is another criterion to distinguish the reformist from the revolutionary road. The European Left Party observes “the crisis of the nation state” in order to situate its project for an alternative society at the level of the transformation of the European Union. The Party’s Manifesto doesn’t say any word about the European Union as an imperialist construction. However, the European Union was conceived and continues to be guided by the jost powerful and aggressive monopolies of the continent, united in the European Round Table of Industrialists, among others. “Under a capitalist regime, the United States of Europe are either impossible or reactionary,” said Lenin. The European Union is taking shape and it is reactionary.
However, the European Left Party promises “another Europe” that will give a voice to the citizens; and that will give another content to the European Union. It counts on the “sweeping transformation” of the European Union, starting with its institutions. “We want the elected institutions, the Euro-pean parliament and the national parliaments, to have more power and control.” That is social democracy’s discourse and strategy ever since it has turned its back on revolutionary socialism. That is the revival of the old social democratic illusion that through the development of democracy, one could create an alliance capable of imposing another policy, a “new social contract.” Sure, the communists are fighting to defend and expand the people’s democratic rights but with the aim of developing the revolutionary class struggle. It is not that we are denying the possibility of reforms within the capitalist system but it is a characteristic of a Communist Party never to make people believe that reforms will change the nature of society.
The monopolies are holding the real state power captive both at the national level and at the level of the European Union. They will never submit themselves to another policy than the pursuit of maximal profits. This truth of Marxism-Leninism is proven day after day in the facts.
Socialism, the working masses’ only alternative, is not possible without breaking the political and economic power of the monopolies. Still, the European Left Party is boasting that “it will not take the same roads as those taken in the 20th century.” In short, socialist revolution will not be necessary any-more to break the power of monopolies, as it will be sufficient to pursue the “politics of transformation” to make from the European super power an engine of social progress, democracy and peace. In fact, the European Left Party doesn’t fight for socialism. It talks about a “return to the political and cultural roots of the European social model” that has developed as a system of adaptation to capitalism after the repression of the Paris Commune.
The European Left Party is opposed to “globalisation” — but without any analysis of this fashionable term’s meaning. The internationalization is a fundamental characteristic of capitalism that has been pushed forward by the fact that it has reached its highest stage. The crisis of the 1930s has led to the Second World War. Consequently, capitalism has known a period of recovery but since the early 1970s, capitalism has been affected by a new global, structural crisis, punctuated by short but severe conjunctural crises. This has increased the weight of the transnational monopolies in the global economy tremendously since the 1980s. For us, “globalisation” is but a new impulse to the takeover of the world by the transnationals and the intensification of all contradictions of the imperialist system since the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe in 1989-91.
Imperialism has put in place so many measures in order to postpone the violent explosion of the crisis but inevitably, it will lead again to a revolutionary crisis — as scientific socialism has shown us. In short, capitalist “globalisation” is a direct result of the general crisis of capitalism and will only disappear together with it.
The European Left Party promises “a progressive alternative”, “peace”, “social justice”, “sustainable development” and all kinds of laudable causes nobody will oppose but that are not fundamentally different from any social democratic program. That is because the European Left Party targets the effects of the system and not its roots. Nowhere can we discover even a trace of an analysis of the fundamental economic and political causes of the exploitation of the workers (the term is not even used), of injustice, of misery, of discrimination, of the destruction of the environment, of wars. Communists are careful to make the ‘anti-globalisation movement’ take a critical stance towards imperialism and its capitalists base. They help the progressives to discover that socialism is the only alternative to capitalism; the only consistent theory to back up the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement’ and to give a genuine, liberating perspective to the working class.
When the European Left Party repeatedly says that "another world is possible", it does not propose anything but the dream of a ‘humanised’ capitalism without the "excesses" of globalisation. What it presents as original ideas is in fact the modern version of Bernstein’s and Kautsky’s revisionism, which has been already rehashed several times throughout the last century.
Although the Manifesto and the other documents of the European Left Party are extremely fuzzy about the "alter-na-tive," the demarcation with "Stalinism" is clearly highlighted in the preamble of the Statute.
Socialism is a new system. Lenin rightly stated that "complete socialism will be created by the revolutionary co-operation of the proletarians of all countries, after a series of attempts — each of which, taken by itself, will be one-sided and will suffer from certain inconsistencies." The twentieth century saw the Russian working class accomplish a great revolution, seize power and launch "the conquest of the sky," under the direction of the Communist Party. The European Left Party says that "we cannot follow the same roads as those that were used in the 20th century…." Can that mean anything else but the rejection of Lenin and the October Revolution, without which the Soviet Union would never have seen the light of day? Stalin and the leadership of the CPSU took up the immense challenge to build the first socialist State. The whole world had to recognize the huge economic and social progress the USSR was able to realize in a few decades. If the Soviet Union had not been able to carry out this immense trans-formation, the Soviet people would not have been able to withstand the Nazi attacks, and the Red Army would not have been able to defeat Hitler’s elite troops. The people of Europe and the world owe their liberation from fascism in the first place to the Soviet Union. It is the Soviet Union and the Communist International that have decisively fanned the furious wind of national liberation that swept through the colonized countries. After the war, it is also towards communism that the workers and the masses turned.
Subsequently, the bourgeoisie has launched systematic and intensifying attacks against "Stalinism," like spearheads of the "Cold War." They made part of a comprehensive anticommunist plan (the Marshall plan, the creation of NATO etc.). Obviously, they did not aim the rectification of errors, but the liquidation of the socialist camp and the communist movement.
Just like the anti-Leninism of Kautsky and Bernstein accompanied the attacks by the Entente against the young Soviet State at the end of the First World War, the anti-Stalinism of certain left factions has been accompanying the virulent anticommunist campaigns of the global reaction for decades.
Finally the global reaction, together with the local renegades and counter-revolutionaries, succeeded in overthrowing socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe. The bourgeoisie claimed to open the way towards social progress and peace but since that time it has only accelerated its attacks on workers’ rights and expanded its wars of re-conquest over the whole of planet. As several countries persevere on the socialist road and the communist movement is reinvigorated, it is taking recourse again to all kinds of attacks against "Stalinism".
As it is also retorting to anti-Stalinism, the European Left Party objectively belongs to the same reactionary anticommunist current. It demonstrates cowardice that has as its only objective to gain acceptability in the eyes of the bourgeoisie.
4. For the unity of communists based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
The global bourgeoisie obtained various international organizations to work out its strategy, coordinate its actions, and to impose its absolute power. Paradoxically, whereas during two previous centuries communism was the first political tendency to be organized on a global level, today any genuine coordination is lacking. However, the general crisis of capitalism is objectively bringing the need for the preparation of the socialist revolution to the fore.
Admittedly, there are lessons to be learnt from the experience of the Communist International but nobody can question that without its coordination and close cooperation, the International Communist Movement would not have had the force it has shown in the past.
Today, we have the urgent task to solve the question of our unity among Communists. Common tactics — towards the European institutions for example — can be developed through genuine organs of coordination and cooperation.
The European Left Party adds to the paradox. Certain Communist Parties are opposed to the organization of our International Communist Movement. At the same time, however, they unite themselves not only in one body of cooperation and coordination, but in a "super-party," to align themselves with parties which either openly turn their backs on communism or never adhered to it. They reject the idea that the communist movement would form its own structures, but at the same time they accept the yoke of a "super-party" with leading bodies and statutes which are in effect put under the control of the European Union.
Whatever the subjective intentions are of the parties affiliated to the European Left Party, this project aims to divide the Communists and tries to lure as many as possible of them towards a new variety of revisionism and social democracy.
We have friendly relations with several Communist Parties that joined the European Left Party or that have observer status. In spite of our rejection of the European Left Party, we will maintain these party-to-party relations. We are convinced that sooner or later they will share our opinion that this is, in essence, an anticommunist and social democratic project.
The working class and the people of the world are recovering from the blows they had to take after the counter-revolution of 1989-91. They are opposed to the imperialists wars. New waves of revolutionary class struggles are looming. In order to be able to direct them and orient them towards our common goal of socialism, our movement has to find a new a new unity!